The Journeyman Project 2: Buried In Time is a much superior sequel to the solid but ahead-of-its-time The Journeyman Project that failed miserably due to poor conversion from Macintosh to PC (the game was later released, properly enhanced and optimized, as The Journeyman Project: Turbo and later Pegasus Prime). Buried In Time combines excellent time-travel plot, thought-provoking puzzles, and strong educational elements into an excellent?and highly underrated?adventure.
The plot picks up somewhat where the first Journeyman Project game left off, although you don?t need to have played that game to enjoy Buried in Time. As in the first game, you play Gage Blackwood, Agent 5 of the Temporal Security Agency (TSA). In this far future, time travel becomes a reality, and the TSA?s task is to prevent anyone from travelling back in time and distort the Earth?s history. The opening sequence of the game reveals that in a few years? time, you will be framed for changing history at your research locations. The older Gage jumps backward in time, gives you, the younger Gage, the jumpsuit and a brief explanation. He is then arrested and you must find the true culprit. You had been assigned to do research in four time zones and you will have to explore those time zones carefully to find your clues that will free your future self.
One of the game?s strongest points is the great atmosphere-- there are many intriguing locations to visit, each of which is exquisitely rendered and historically accurate. Leonardo Da Vinci?s Renaissance studio, for example, contains numerous inventions that fans will instantly recognize as the ones in his sketchbook?here rendered in full 3D for the game. There are two modes of play: Walkthrough, and Adventure. Walkthrough mode has fewer puzzles than Adventure mode, and Arthur ? the funny albeit annoying ?robot helper? that is similar to Floyd in Planetfall -- will chirp up more frequently, offering you advice and clues. The Adventure mode is quite difficult, although all puzzles are logical and fit very well with the game?s context (in Leonardo? studio, for example, most puzzles involve assembling some of his inventions). Another aspect of the game that I really like is the biochip interface, which is required to solve many puzzles. In your inventory you will collect various biochips. Many operations are accessed through the biochips: time travel, translation, evidence identification and photography and several others. For example, accessing the evidence chip enables you to attempt to locate evidence or review the evidence already collected. This reminds me of Circuit?s Edge, except the effect is even more convincing.
There are very few gripes I have about the game. First, the navigation interface is a bit confusing, and you?ll all too often miss a vital clue or object just because you didn?t try all possible directions from your position (e.g. looking up or down). Also, the game is reminiscent of Myst: although the worlds aren?t empty, you can?t interact with other characters (since you?ll likely cause a temporal disturbance if King Richard?s soldier saw you in funky jumpsuit). Also, you?ll die quite a lot in the game, and incidentally the death screen is the only way you can see your current score. These gripes are quite minor, however, and won?t detract from this excellent game.
With very high production values, a longer-than-average game length, and strong puzzles that (in ?adventure? mode) that will challenge all expert adventurers, Buried in Time is simply a must-have. It?s not so often that we see a game that fits both ?science fiction? and ?grand adventure? themes, and provides excellent historical anecdotes to boot. There?s a wealth of historical information and anecdotes in the game that provide extra value. If you?re looking for a fun and intellectual adventure game, Buried in Time more than fits the bill. Too bad the sequel and last game of the trilogy Legacy of Time is much easier and shorter than this epic. Two thumbs up!
Note: Although original publisher Sanctuary Woods is now defunct, the entire Journeyman Project trilogy has been picked up by RedOrb Entertainment, and sold as a value pack for excellent price ($18.95 at Chips & Bits). Get your copy today!Reviewed by: Underdogs